The Daily Lard 6-16-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Over at Shutdown Corner, Doug Farrar provides an excellent example of what's wrong with traditional cornerback stats and how dangerous they can be in the hands of people who don't understand their limited value, namely beat writers. Basically, some fool in Pittsburgh decided to float the idea that Ike Taylor is a superior player to Nnamdi Asomugha because he racks up more tackles, passes defensed and interceptions annually. Naturally, this hack John Harris doesn't know the concept of targets didn't think about how many times the two players were targeted and declined to consider the defensive schemes the two guys play in, their respective roles within them, and how those factors influence tackle stats.

Worst of all, Harris points to the Steelers' annual success (and Oakland's lack thereof) as proof that Taylor is a better player than Asomugha. Because, you know...the quality of a single cornerback is of course the difference between winning and losing. (As an aside, I experience this at work all the time when people claim that Player A on the Yanks is better than Player B on the Mets cuz he's got ringzzz!!! or that certain guys are winnerz ZOMG!!! even though they are backups/bench players.) Truly, it's good stuff from Farrar. He gets to the crux of what's wrong with a lot of mainstream sports coverage and reminds us that we need context with our stats, and/or just better stats. So, when's Farrar going to take down one of the writers we passionately follow here?

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Broncography: Rahim Moore

When it came time for the 45th pick in April's draft, Broncos fans were in general looking for a lineman - preferably a defensive tackle, but a right tackle would have been fine with most of us. When Rahim Moore’s number was called, some fans lapsed into outright stupors - they WHAT? REALLY? What the ….? Others simply threw things at their sets, cats or walls. They didn’t need to have worried.

A little time has passed, and the Broncos' new brain trust has shown some good reasons why they’ve gone the route that they have. Perhaps most interesting to me has been keeping an archive of all the comments made by head coach John Fox, defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and linebackers coach Richard Smith as the team moves forward. I’ve also kept one on special teams coordinatorJeff Rodgers, who has specifically mentioned his pleasure in gaining two safeties, three linebackers and a couple of TEs who can fly down the field. In the broad strokes that have been drawn up for the fans' benefit, the team has avoided giving too many specifics, but has outlined just what the Broncos want to do to get back into the role of a perennial playoff prospect. Four things headed the list, mostly for the defense:

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The Daily Lard 6-15-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Albert Breer writes that the labor negotiations are expected to continue today in MD, and that a new deal could possibly be reached within two to four weeks. A memo went out to the owners asking them to prepare for a multiple-day meeting next week, which is seen as a good sign. Breer also writes that in order to have a full preseason, it's figured that a deal must be reached by July 15.

According to John Clayton, the current talks are focused on the cut of revenues that will go to the players, who have reportedly proposed a "pegged cap" that would have fixed increases.

More on the positive developments from Vinnie Iyer.

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New labor deal reportedly 80-85 percent complete

Mike Freeman of CBS Sports has more encouraging news on the labor front, as he is reporting that the players and owners have made so much progress in their talks that some involved believe an agreement will be reached in a matter of days. Although Freeman writes that nothing is set in stone, he quotes his source as saying that "It's going to be very difficult for this to get screwed up."

He also writes that the atmosphere of mistrust that had dominated the lockout has all but disappeared, and that in addition to the earlier reported dinner De Smith and Roger Goodell had together, players and owners have been sharing private lunches. Apparently the lawyers for both sides are again involved, but at this juncture it's seen as a positive development indicating that the negotiations are getting down to the details.

MJD and Florio react to Freeman's report.

What went wrong offensively for the Broncos in 2010?

I was recently asked by a couple of readers to discuss what went wrong with the offense of the 2010 Broncos.  It's too long of a story to be adequately told in a reply comment, so I decided to make a full post out of it.

If you asked Captain Obvious this question, he'd give you a really surface-level description, and end it with some nonsense about what most in the NFL think, with it probably revolving around deficiencies he sees in Kyle Orton and Knowshon Moreno, since everything revolves around the QB and the RB.  The real story is way over Jeff's head, of course, but here at IAOFM, we're dedicated to providing the best analysis you can find anywhere, even if that's not that hard to do.

Let's start with some offensive theory.  Is it better to run or to pass?  A lot of research indicates that passing is a more productive activity than running, and all of us at this website tend to believe in that research.

That doesn't mean that running the ball is a waste of time, not in the least.  It may be second priority, but it's still a priority.  Running the ball effectively makes it easier to throw the ball effectively, after all.  It also makes it easier for an offense to stay on schedule.

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The Daily Lard 6-14-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! LJ checked in with Joe Mays, who is expected to enter training camp as the starting MLB in a competition for the job with rookie Nate Irving. Although Mays has bulked up his shoulders to comic-book proportions, he apparently plans on playing at around 245 pounds, which is his typical playing weight. Interestingly, LJ notes that Irving is another rookie who does not have a copy of the Broncos' playbook. So that's at least two rookies who have been acknowledged by the DP as not having a playbook (and thus we can probably assume none of them do) after one of their writers had previously said all the rooks got a copy when they were introduced at Dove Valley. Either way, can't one of the vets find their way to a Kinko's and hook their younger mates up?

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NFL rule changes and limits

With the increase in regulations that are being designed to protect the long-term health of the players, there’s a lot of understandable blowback coming from the players. Certain teams - the Steelers in particular, but members of many teams - including the Titans - seem to be making the news regarding their belief that the league is singling them out, due to their well-earned reputations as very tough, physical teams. Frankly, I can understand their feelings. They’ve striven to play at the very edge of legality while not going over that line, and now the line is being moved. It will affect the way that they play, and every player who violates the new line is going to be fined, suspended or in some way punished. It has to concern them - and it should. They feel that their freedom to play the game the way that they have up until now is at stake. It is - and they should be.

They should, but not because they or any single player or team is/are being singled out. They aren’t - the rules go for every team and for every player. It’s because it will change the way that they play the game, and it will require changes to the methods of tackling and defense. Kevin Vickerson pointed out last fall that many of the rules protecting defensive linemen aren’t being consistently enforced,and I agree with him entirely:

Already, they protect the quarterback, they protect receivers. O-linemen chop-block you, and they don't want to do anything about that, to protect the knees and all that. It's all offense. You want to talk about rules, we should look at the whole game and make the rules fit everybody instead of one side of the ball. All the rules are really set up for offensive guys. Rules for going after the quarterback's knees should be the same for defensive linemen. You're taking years off a man's career.

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The Daily Lard 6-13-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! John Ingold of the DP has more info on the lawsuit filed by the insurance company St. Paul Fire & Marine against the Broncos and several retired players. California law allows professional athletes to file workers' comp claims as long as the player played at least one game within the state, and because NFL teams do not typically bring up workers' comp in conversations with their players, the typical 1- to 5-year statue of limitations for such cases does not apply. According to the Times, as of April 2010 there were 700 NFL players pursuing similar cases.

Ingold writes that the claim behind St. Paul Fire & Marine's lawsuit is that the firm is not responsible for these claims, and that the policies it sold the Broncos only covers claims in New Mexico by non-player employees.

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Tim Tebow, Q Man Lard 6-12-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Florida Times-Union examines the remarkable Q score and popularity of Tim Tebow, whose celebrity makes him comparable to the likes of Dick Vitale, Eric Clapton, Madonna, Dan Marino, Derek Jeter and Jack Nicholson depending upon the measure. Arguably, Tebow's exceptional career with the Gators is the biggest contributor to his fame, although his lionization by the Christian right and his straight-laced image can't be too far behind.

But of course, he hasn't really done anything yet as a professional - he's started three games, won one of them, and scored a few touchdowns. And while many of us think he'll end up the Broncos' starting QB in 2011 - and a successful one, at that - one has to wonder what will become of Tebow's fame if he fails as an NFL player. Tebow's jersey was only outsold last year by those of established stars Troy Polamalu, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers, all of whom have led their team to Super Bowl titles.

And what does Tebow's popularity mean to the Broncos? Will it help fill seats at the Big IF and continue to sell merch? Will Tebow place/keep the Broncos in the national sports consciousness for whatever length his career in Denver stretches, or only for however long he helps them win, if at all? It will be interesting to find out...

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Your letter to Roger Goodell

Perhaps many of you remember Mad Libs

They were the creation of screenwriter Leonard Stern, who passed away earlier this week.

In honor of Stern, Mad Libs, and the ridiculousness that is the NFL lockout, we decided to give you our own fill-in-the-blank Mad Lib.

This one is a letter to Roger Goodell.  

Just fill in each blank with whatever comes to your mind and click on the "create story" button once you are done.  A small window will pop up with your own letter.  You can copy your story from the window in the comments below if you'd like.  I took the liberty of creating the first.

It should be ridiculous.  But that's the point of Mad Libs.

Enjoy!

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